Tour de France organisers ASO have enlisted the help of teams and riders, including Garmin-Sharp’s David Millar, to use social media channels to remind fans of their responsibilities when watching the race from the roadside.
The appeal comes ahead of some key stages expected to draw big crowds in the coming days as the race heads towards its conclusion a week tomorrow – not least that unprecedented double ascent of Alpe d’Huez on Thursday.
Among those who took to Twitter in response to ASO’s appeal was Millar, who said:
The race director of the TdF asked me to use my 'tweeter' to offer safety guidance for the brilliant public on the road. I have 4 tips –
1. Do not stand on the road, it may seem unimaginable in the hours of waiting preceding the race, but when we do arrive we use ALL of it!
2. Remove children/pets/chairs from road when stepping back to avoid us, they more often than not end up being forgotten in the panic.
3. Bike riders appear further away through a camera lens/phone/iPad than they actually are, take a long shot, not a close-up!
4. Cheer for me! We hear everything when passing and, most importantly, enjoy the spectacle, I'll be standing there with you soon.
The importance of that second point was made apparent towards the end of Stage 2 of this year’s race when a small white dog ran across the road and stopped in front of a group of riders trying to chase down an attack; luckily, the pooch managed to get out of the way in the nick of time. You can see a video of that incident here.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.